Thankful for my healing

A few months ago, I couldn't text, open bottles, or even reach the back of my head with a brush without a struggle. I was having a good day if the pain level was under 7. I was diagnosed with a bulging C5 - basically, I have a pain in the neck!

Through my doctors, physical therapy, the healing neck massages from my husband, and the grace of God, I now rarely have pain over a 5. I can do most of the things I did just 6 months ago.

And I am so thankful. Even on a day like today when I'm struggling with something that I used to be able to do effortlessly, I still have trouble with reaching over my head to get things off shelves. I can't fully trust the strength in that arm for that. And I have trouble with things that require super fine dexterity like pinning my hair up, making jewelry, or even inserting a tampon (TMI sorry).

I am still thankful for my healing.  I'm hopeful that one day the rest of the feeling and strength will return to my hand. I will try to stay in a mood of hope and gratitude rather than mourning what I've lost.

My Pain in the Neck

On the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend, I was playing with my kids, when I felt a severe pain in my shoulder and neck. The pain subsided quickly and I really didn’t think anything of it.

Next morning, my shoulder was sore and I felt like I had a crick in my neck. But before the holiday weekend was over, I was at the emergency room in severe pain unable to raise my arm. The pain on a scale of 1 to 10 was about a 20. I’m not a wuss. I’ve had two c-sections, a dry socket, chronic appendicitis and an appendectomy and a tonsillectomy with more than 50 stitches (most tonsillectomies have none to 5 stitches YOW!) so I know pain and my level 10 pain (”the worst you’ve ever felt” says the doctor) is quite a bit higher than other folk’s level 10.

Now, I have a medical degree from Google with a fellowship from WebMD (meaning I am an expert internet researcher and not much else) so I went into the ER thinking that maybe I had a torn rotator cuff. The ER was hopping busy and I never saw a doctor but did see a physician’s assistant. She took x-rays and agreed that it was likely a rotator cuff tear. I was given Vicodin and prescription strength Ibuprofen and a muscle relaxer.

What are the symptoms of a torn rotator cuff?

  • Pain when moving your arm
  • Pain at night
  • Weakness in your shoulder

I was also experiencing a bit of neck pain but it was minor in comparison with the shoulder pain and I really thought nothing of it. More interesting was the fact that I had numbness and tingling in a direct line that I could trace from my shoulder to my thumb.

Within 2 days, I was trying desperately to get an appointment with my orthopedic but they were booked up for several days. I started rationing the pain pills because they only gave me 5 day supply and my appointment would be on day 5 exactly. This was not necessarily a good idea but I had no other recourse except to make it work out or go back to the emergency room for another 6 hour visit. By doctor day, I was desperate for relief.

My orthopedics' office is a large practice with several doctors who specialize in different things. MY doc is the knee and shoulder guy. I like him a lot and knew he’d be able to help.

He walks in and starts asking questions. I told him about the incredible pain and then I mentioned the tingling. That stopped him in his tracks. He said, “This isn’t a shoulder problem. This is a neck problem. If I were to guess, I’m thinking maybe a rupture or bulging disc at C4 or C5.” Then, he ordered X-Rays.

The x-rays revealed an impingement at the between the C4 and C5. He prescribed more Vicodin and physical therapy. If it wasn’t better in 3 weeks at a re-check, he’d order an MRI.

Symptoms of a pinched nerve in your neck includes neck, shoulder, and arm pain, tingling or burning sensations, and numbness. Weakness is also possible and complaints of loss of strength and trouble with lifting the arm, bending the elbow, or holding onto objects are not unheard of.

Folks, I had every single one of these symptoms.

I started physical therapy the next day after my doctor’s appointment. My PT was all about getting the muscles in my neck to relax as the therapist suspected that most of my pain was related to spasm rather than the actual impingement (the fancy term for pinched nerve). But PT days were hell for me; they would often leave me in more pain than I started in and the next day would have me a level 10 pain that would only help a little or sometimes not at all.

There were a few nights after the initial diagnosis that I actually considered going back to the emergency room because I couldn’t sleep because I was in so much pain. After 5 days, I called the doctor’s office again and told them that despite 3 PT appointments and the medicine that was prescribed, I was still in so much pain and didn’t see any improvement.

They ordered the MRI and moved my care to the team physiatrist - a doctor who specializes in pain management. He would get the MRI results and consult with the other doctors on the team if necessary to decide what the next step in my care should be. Meanwhile, they were refilling my narcotic pain reliever and wanted me to continue PT.

I’ve never had an MRI. I was asked several times if I were claustrophobic and until the moment that I was stuck in that tube, I honestly thought I wasn’t.

The MRI was an older one where you’re laid down on a table and pushed into a tube. The tube was literally 2 inches from my nose.

The first time they pulled me out of the tube, it was to adjust some cords attached to the headphones that were put on to protect my ears.

The second time they pulled me out, it was because my arm started twitching from being in such a weird position on my back and I grabbed it and messed up the cord again.

The third time they pulled me out of the tube is because I told them that if they didn’t get me out, I’d throw up in the machine.

They scheduled me for open MRI the next morning. That was much better and didn’t take as long either.

Fast forward a couple weeks, the pain is actually getting better. The most relief I’ve gotten is from the TENS machine being used in PT. Secondly and probably more importantly is my husband giving me a massage on the nights that I don’t have PT. I saw great improvement after those started.

By the time that I see the physiatrist, my daily pain level is averaging around a 6. Much better than the 10 I was experiencing days before. The physiatrist looked at the MRI report and told me that I did indeed have a pinched nerve. But now we knew it was caused by a bulging disc in my neck - the C5 disc to be exact.

His suggestion was an epidural.

The epidural was such a non-issue that it’s hard for me to even discuss.  I mean it was so easy and relatively painless.  I can’t say that it was a miracle cure but I can say that lowered my daily pain level down to about a 4 or 5.  The worst part of it was when I sat up too fast and got an epidural headache.  That was NOT pleasant but it went away quickly.

Another reason to homeschool: Reading

"... many kids aren’t ready to read at five or six. Some aren’t ready until they’re several years older. In school that’s a crisis, because every subject is taught using reading. The child who can’t read not only grows disheartened, he also feels stigmatized.

But as a homeschooler he remains immersed in a learning-rich lifestyle whether he reads or not because homeschooling is infinitely adaptable. Stories abound of homeschooled children who move quickly move from non-reading to zipping through Harry Potter books once they’re ready.

A recent study showed that homeschooled children whose parents don’t push them to learn to read, but instead emphasize the joy of reading, end up with kids who are avid readers no matter if these kids started reading early or late."

- See more at:


237978620_2265a8ea65_z I haven't really talked much about what's going on with my shoulder. Mainly because it scares the crap out of me.

Turns out I don't have a torn rotator cuff, but a pinched nerve resulting from a bulging disc in my NECK!

There's something about the term "bulging disc" that scares you. Especially when it's in your neck and when you're only 43. The cause is unknown. This sort of thing can happen spontaneously or by accidents. I could have injured it that night or I could have had it for years but I  was asymptomatic until now.

I did physical therapy for 3 weeks but that just seemed to make it worse. What finally helped was getting John to give me a massage a couple times a week and a TENS machine.

I had an epidural last week.  I'm not sure that it made things better but it didn't make anything worse.

I'm having discomfort more than pain. A twinge here and throb there. I'm more concerned with the loss of strength and dexterity in my dominant hand right now than pain. I can't trust that hand with anything heavy or moderately weighty if I have to lift something over my head.

My neck isn't bad enough for surgery and only divine intervention will heal me permanently.

Coloring is good for you

I sometimes think the only reason I homeschool is so that I have an excuse to color every day.

How not to spend a holiday weekend

I spent most of yesterday at the emergency room. 

Wednesday, I was playing with the kids and jerked my arm the wrong way. I had an instant of incredible pain in my shoulder and then it was better - sore but not especially painful. I didn't really think anymore about it. That is, until the next morning when it was still sore. 

Griffin has had a tummy bug this week so I have had a rough week with lots of sleepless nights. But nothing quite like Friday night when my arm started hurting really really bad.

Saturday,  I knew that I had done something seriously wrong to my arm but I really thought it could probably wait until sometime next week to get to a doctor. I was so wrong. I was up almost all night Saturday night with my arm and shoulder aching. 
I decided early early Sunday morning that if it wasn't better when I finally woke up that I would just go ahead and go to the emergency room. I really didn't want to go to the emergency room. But i didn't really think I had much choice if it still hurt like it did.

So I got up yesterday morning and went to the emergency room and waited and waited and waited. Being a holiday weekend, the place was packed. And they were using coaster pagers  to track people. Something about HIPPA. 

Four hours later and an X-ray and dealing only with a physician's assistant and being on a gurney in the hall instead of an exam room confirmed that my shoulder wasn't fractured or dislocated. The PA suspected a rotator cuff injury and sent me home with pain meds, anti-inflammatory meds and a muscle relaxer. 

The meds give some relief. But not nearly enough to sleep for more than a few minutes. 

Words cannot express how NOT BETTER I am this morning.  

Alternating heat and ice helps for the few minutes I have the pack/pad on the affected area. I can't lay down and I can't sit up. The only position where my arm is relatively comfortable for few minutes is hanging straight down while standing or walking.  So I'm just pacing the house and porch.  Pacing and praying and crying. I know that "stinkin' thinkin'" won't help but I'm having a hard time staying cheerful. 

I've got to hang on a couple more days until I can get to an orthopedic. 

Pray for me. 

A definite direction

For too long, I have let this blog drift without any real plans.  I didn’t want to nail down a niche and I wanted it to be broad so that I could write what I wanted.  But what I’ve found is that without direction, I went everywhere and nowhere.
No more.
I’m narrowing my focus and you’re going to start seeing at least 2 or 3 posts a week here.  I don’t promise they will be long, but there will be SOMETHING to read or see.
Here are the things I am focusing on:
  • Homeschooling (choices, how-tos)
  • Being Mama (homemaking, parenting)
  • Creativity (fun and fancy)
You may also see the occasional rant but it will be rare – hopefully!
I’m going to be doing a Flylady challenge on my Tumblr blog and there may be some cross posting. That blog is largely for my own entertainment and posting eclectic silly things that make me laugh or think but I love comments and sharing.
I’m also doing a series here starting tomorrow about praying for your kids.
I hope you’ll hang out with me and see where it goes…

What I’ve learned about homeschooling so far…

Now that I can really see the light at the end of our first year homeschooling, I can step back and start looking back at how things are going.

There is no perfect box curriculum

First thing I've learned is that there is no perfect box curriculum. Furthermore, you aren't going to be 100% satisfied with anything unless you piece it together yourself and even then there will be something you're not happy with. You need to find something that is close enough to what you want so that you don't hate it.

Stop looking for perfection

Point 2: you can't study any of them enough to find all their faults and omissions before you invest your time, energy or money. So you need to be prepared to supplement where necessary and accept the curriculum warts and all.  If it really stinks, stop using it and find something else.  Part B of this is that you shouldn't assume that one grade is representative of all the grades. Anyone who tells you different is selling you something. I saw the 3rd grade level of my curriculum and was told that the preschool level was similar. It is NOTHING like the third grade level. The only similarity is the teaching guide.

Say NO to over-scheduling

Thirdly, don't over schedule yourself. I've been guilty of this so many times this year. Between all of the things that I want to work on for my own improvement, housekeeping, volunteering for church and community, and homeschooling, there just hasn't been a whole lot of downtime.  This summer, I want to put P into swimming lessons and into Girl Scouts in the fall so I’m starting to think ahead now about what our commitments are and what they will be once school starts.  I’ve had to say “no” to quite a few things – including things I really wanted to say “yes” to - because I know that I just won’t have the time I need to do them well come August.

Planning will save your Sanity

Fourth, plan.  I mean it.  Really plan.  Sit down right now and start planning next year.  I know it’s April and there’s still another 8 weeks or so before most folks consider their school year done but I am serious.  If I could do this year over again, I would have started 2 years in advance and planned, planned, planned.  I have a written lesson plan provided with my curriculum and IT IS NOT ENOUGH.  I have to read ahead, make notes, acquire materials, fill in gaps, etc.  I feel like I am always flying by the seat of my pants trying to keep up.  We’re switching curriculum companies next year (more about that in another post) and I can’t get the materials until July.  I AM FREAKING OUT.  Fortunately, they have an excellent syllabus online so I can start thinking ahead.

Plan for your younger children too

On level with the 4th lesson is number FIVE: PLAN FOR THE LITTLE GUY TOO.  My son is two years old and he wants to color and draw and listen to stories and work on the computer with sister.  I’ve had to make copies, print multiples, make sure I’ve had enough material all year long.  This year, I’m going to put together a little curriculum that he can work on while sister does stuff like math and worksheets.  He can listen to stories and color and draw and work on the computer too (but with a different computer and program) but then I’ll make some easier version of stuff for him.

Get yourself organized NOW

SIX: ORGANIZE.  EVERYTHING.  Your time, your resources, your home.  I’ve had to dig all year.  I’m finally starting to workout exactly where stuff needs to live and how best to access it.  At the beginning of the year, I put all of the pre-K stuff in one file cabinet drawer.  Now I’ve purchased another file cabinet, cleared off a bookshelf, and decluttered even more.  I’ll have to write a post on this too.

If you’re homeschooling, could you share your most important lessons with me?  I’m more than glad to hear them.

Giving your worries to God

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7
I am a worrier.  Peter was a worrier too.  And yet, he learned to give the Lord his worries.
I like to massage and worry over a problem until I see a solution or I'm inspired to ask someone their opinion.  Lately, I've been obsessing over the fact that we have now been a one car household for 4-1/2 years and it's really starting to wear me down.  And yet, if I mention to someone that I'm looking for a car, they come up with someone selling - generally one that I'm going to worry about because it's 15 years old or needs shocks and goodness knows how much that's gonna cost.
I know what I want.  I also know that we can't deal with another car payment to get it. So this leads me to another phrase that someone just taught me.
"If it's God's will, then it's God's bill."
I'm handing the whole thing over to Him.

The Bible Series and my thoughts on some passages

I watched the first episode of the Bible series on History channel last night and I thought it was really good. Yes, there were HUGE jumps from the near sacrifice of Isaac to the Exodus. Yes, they left out Joseph (and his coat of many colors) but I wasn't that disturbed.  This is a movie and like any movie based on a book, they are gonna leave out something - probably one of your favorite parts.  With only about an hour and 45 minutes (not two hours cuz of commercials), they have to move quickly if they want to get to revelation by the end of the 5th and final episode.
I've seen a couple of complaints this morning about the ninja angels getting Lot and his family out of Sodom. I have two things that come to mind. First, the Bible says:
When Lot still hesitated, the angels seized his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and rushed them to safety outside the city, for the Lord was merciful. Genesis 19:16
Well how would you think that looked?  If you've got gangs of men roaming around who want to beat up and molest the angels, how do you think they got out?  Secondly, this is television in 2013 and Charleton Heston is nowhere in sight.  If they had calmly walked out, it wouldn't have been very interesting or dramatic.  Our entertainment these days has dramatic fighting and action and to do any less would have been boring for us in the 21st century and certainly boring for the unsaved and unchurched who watch stuff like that.
For those familiar with the stories, use the series as a launching pad to delve deeper into the scriptures. Read the parts not mentioned. Read about Jacob and Leah and Rachel. Read about Joseph and why he brought his family out of Canaan and into Egypt. And stop nitpicking.

MY SOAP Study today


Romans 5:12-21 (MSG) Paul's thoughts on the contrast between Jesus and Adam
12-14 You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in—first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it. Yet the rescuing gift is not exactly parallel to the death-dealing sin. If one man’s sin put crowds of people at the dead-end abyss of separation from God, just think what God’s gift poured through one man, Jesus Christ, will do! There’s no comparison between that death-dealing sin and this generous, life-giving gift. The verdict on that one sin was the death sentence; the verdict on the many sins that followed was this wonderful life sentence. If death got the upper hand through one man’s wrongdoing, can you imagine the breathtaking recovery life makes, sovereign life, in those who grasp with both hands this wildly extravagant life-gift, this grand setting-everything-right, that the one man Jesus Christ provides? 18-19 Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right. 20-21 All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't  and doesn't  have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.


A few weeks ago, my church did a series about the Tabernacle and how it was God's way of drawing close to us.  Also too, we were given laws - many many laws - that we were to follow to be worthy to be in God's presence.  The whole point was that there were so many laws, so many ways that we could not possibly make ourselves holy enough to be with God that sacrifices had to be made to cleanse the sins.  It was a great series because I'd never really understood why the blood sacrifices were necessary or why we didn't still do sacrifices.


This passage makes me think of all the ways that God has tried to draw close to me.  It's also reminding me that you can always turn around a wrong situation.  If God can do it for mankind, then I can do it with whatever is bogging me down.


Thank you Father for making a way.  Thank you for giving us your Son to cleanse the sins so that we might be close to you again.

How to Study Your Bible

I have read dozens of books about how to best study the Bible. I've asked pastors.  I've watched countless YouTube videos. What I have found that really works for me is SOAP.
SOAP is an acronym that stands for SCRIPTURE, OBSERVATION, APPLICATION, and PRAYER.
Scripture refers to reading the verse as it is.
Observation refers what your thoughts and feelings are about the verse.
Application is how you can use this information in your everyday life or in a situation.
Prayer is actually writing out a prayer that uses this information.  Many of my prayers are simply "Thank you Lord for showing me this verse"
What methods do you use to study the Bible?

Do you think God gets sad?

Feelin' funky...

Sunday, I had an amazing experience.

First of all, you should know that I was raised Southern Baptist.  My experience with SBC is that you sit still, act interested - but not TOO interested - in the minister's sermon.  You air kiss folks around you before and after the service.  I'd never dream that I'd go to a hand raising church or a church that believes in the "laying on of hands".  We just didn't do that.

We started going to our church in June and joined in November.  I love it and the kids love it.

So Sunday, the pastor had an altar call for folks that had physical problems.  I went up.

I have had problems with my back since I was 17 years old.  I have had therapy, injections, all kinds of tests.  Chiropractic has helped the most but I can't always afford to go as often as I should. So I went to the altar and a very nice man laid his hands on my back and started praying.

I don't know what I expected.  But what happened next BLEW MY MIND.

My back started heating up.  It didn't hurt but it felt hot - not like a burning kind of heat but like when you chew spearmint gum or put Icy Hot on something.  He and others (I don't know how many others actually) touched my back and prayed for about 10 minutes.

Y'all my back didn't hurt any more.  Hasn't hurt since then.

Saying YES


I am taking part in an online Bible study for the next 2 months… when I get a chance, I plan to share my insights with you here…

This study is through Good Morning Girls – they have put together an awesome study but what’s more is that they build in some accountability.  They say that you really need to have a group to go through this study with and that you need to check in every day. 

Today’s text is from Luke 1:26-1:38 (from the NLT)

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30“Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”

38Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

I’ve always looked at this passage with a bit of skepticism.  For one thing, it says nothing about Mary being scared out of her mind for an angel to just show up.  In verse 29 it only says that she is confused and disturbed. I think that was probably putting the whole thing mildly.  And for another, it seems that she just calmly accepts what is about to happen to her. 

Maybe I’m too much of a 21st century woman.  Maybe she was so used to people just telling her what to do that she accepted whatever her fate would be. I don’t know that I could calmly look at some crazy being and say “sure, go ahead”.

Or maybe…

Her faith told her that everything would be ok.

Maybe her love of God made her understand that this was meant for her good and not to harm her.

I sometimes think we Protestants have forgotten this great heroine of the Bible.  She was handed an impossible, deadly task and she took it on with grace and humility.  The task was deadly not only because her village would likely kill her for being pregnant out of wedlock. It was deadly because so many women died in childbirth.  She would have known that.  She would have heard stories of women who didn’t come back from the child-bed.

And that, to me, shows me her faith.  That she knew there was a better than average chance that shouldn’t make it out alive but she still said “I’m His and let it be done”

Today I’m also checking in with…

DAY 7 of YES!

I haven’t done these in a couple of weeks.. just too many things happening. But here goes…

From the Book:

I Declare that God has a great plan for my life. He is directing my steps. And even though I may not always understand how, I know my situation is not a surprise to God. He will work out every detail to my advantage. In His perfect timing, everything will turn out right. This is my declaration.

This has to be how Mary felt. She had to have known that it would all work out.  She had to have know that He would protect her. 

This is the thing that I have the most trouble with in my life.  I feel like I am constantly massaging and pushing and pulling things into place.  But when I let go and let things flow without out my pushing and pulling them into place, they all just work out.